Hey, guys, Adam here! I’m taking over the weekly Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. breakdown from Matthew who’s moved over to doing the weekly S.H.I.E.L.D. review. You can see Matt’s review of “The Ghost” here. Each week, I plan on highlighting the biggest moments from that week’s episode while providing some additional commentary.
Needless to say: the wait is over! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made its return earlier this week with the season four premiere and man, it sure did not disappoint. Much of the hype leading up to Tuesday night’s episode surrounded the casting of Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider and we only had to wait just a minute or two in the episode for our first glimpse. Ready to get goin’? Keep on scrollin’!
1) GHOST RIDER!
As previously mentioned, the majority of Marvel Television’s marketing for this season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was based around Ghost Rider, almost to the sense of Jeph & Co. putting all of their eggs in one basket. Rest assured, the introduction of Ghost Rider into the MCU was excellent.
The show opened with a few members of the Aryan Brotherhood up to no good and before long Daisy Johnson, widely referred to as Quake throughout the duration of the episode, shows up on the scene. Turns out she isn’t the only powered/enhanced human on the scene as one of the members of the Aryan Brotherhood notices the car of Robbie Reyes’ car driving towards and shoots a rocket-propelled grenade into the car. It explodes and we see the signature flames around the tires and engine. Needless to say, Reyes brutally murders two of the Aryan “Brothers”, injures one to the point where he later dies in the hospital and takes the fourth one hostage.
Throughout the episode, we see Quake advance her investigation to the point where she’s able to track down the auto shop where Reyes keeps his car and a fight breaks out between the two, which allows us to see the full face of Robbie’s Ghost Rider “form” for the first time. I’m not sure about you guys but I got chills throughout the fight, especially when Quake tells Reyes he’s not the not who should decide who dies when he essentially agrees with her and turns into Ghost Rider as the “one who decides”.
All in all, I’m very impressed with the casting of Luna as Ghost Rider. He brought a certain level of terror and “badassery” to the table while also instilling a soft side, as we saw near the end of the episode when we were introduced Robbie’s paraplegic brother Gabe.
2) Problems in the family?
Now that S.H.I.E.L.D. is out of the shadows and back to being a government-sanctioned entity, we were exposed to several of the growing pains the main crew we’ve grown to know and love over the first three seasons are going through.
The biggest change comes at the top, as the world thinks Phil Coulson was killed by Loki prior to the Battle of New York that took place in The Avengers. Because of that, Coulson is now a field agent again and there is a new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. While we know that Jason O’Mara has been cast as the new Director, we didn’t get a glimpse of him during this episode. We didn’t even get a first or last name for him either as the characters only referred to him as “The Director” throughout the entire episodes
Jemma Simmons has received a promotion and serves as Special Advisor to the Director in Science and Technology, one of the new Director’s top advisors. As a result of the promotion, the Director tasked Simmons with creating the “Spectrum of Security”, a color-based security protocol system in which agents are assigned a color, which allows them a certain security clearance around the base. While Simmons explains the security protocols to Agent Melinda May, we find out Simmons actually has a higher security clearance than May, leading to more frustrations. During a confrontation later in the episode, Simmons gets relatively upset with Agent May and tells her that “while she doesn’t trust the new Director, the new Director trusts her” so she’s going to do whatever she can to remain in his good graces.
Another point that caught my eye was when Coulson and Mack attempted to enter the lab where Fitz and Simmons work before being stopped by a lab technician in a white coat telling them they didn’t have security clearance. Simmons came to the aid and let both of them in the lab but it got me thinking: what happened that took away the security clearance for Coulson and Mack to enter the lab? Did they get into it with the new Director about something and he’s punishing them? Is the new Director covering his butt and being stringent with security clearance procedures? The conspiracy wheels are turnin’.
Toward the end of the lab scene, we do hear Fitz make a mention to Coulson/Mack that they don’t get to see each that much anymore. In the time that’s passed since Hive was killed in the season three finale, it’s clear that a major change has been underway and the state of the team has changed dramatically since season three.
3) LIFE MODEL DECOY!
Fitz was excited to head over to the house of Holden Radcliffe’s house to watch some “footy” when he was greeted by a nude life model decoy. While we did see Radcliffe working on LMD’s at the end of season three, this was the first time we saw his creation(s) in the flesh.
Needless to say, Fitz was taken aback and instantly began worrying. Rightfully so, especially after Ultron, created by Tony Stark, was responsible for the destruction of Sokovia and ultimately the introduction of the Sokovia Accords, something that has huge ramifications on the MCU as we know it today.
After speaking it over with Radcliffe, Fitz warmed to the idea of sharing the LMD with Simmons but under one condition: they waited until the LMD was “perfect” before they shared it.
How many episodes until this all goes south and Radcliffe unknowingly (or knowingly, for that matter) creates an Army of LMDs that creates quite a fuss for the agents?
4) What’s in the box?
While doing some off-the-books recon work on Quake in Los Angeles, Coulson and Mack work a crime scene where two members of the Chine mob are found brutally murdered. Later that night, a colleague of the aforementioned deceased mentions to the group that the two dead guys opened the box only to get seemingly possessed and kill each other.
With either 1.) no fear of scary campfire tales or 2.) a blatant disregard of safety, the crime boss opens the box. A mist is then seen rising and turning into a translucent being that, to me, looked like a mix between Linda Blair from The Exorcist and Kaecilius, the antagonist of Doctor Strange, the next film to debut in the MCU.
Ghost Rider was awesome. I think the time switch certainly helped the creative team portray Robbie/GR in a way that satisfied many, many fans. While it was somewhat frustrating to see the agents we’ve gotten to know over the past three seasons splintered in a sense, I think it’ll help provide the show many more story arcs, including the Simmons/May power struggle and the Fitz & Radcliffe bromance/secret underground life model decoy lab.
What were your thoughts on the first episode of the fourth season? Let me know in the comments below!